South Africa’s life offices and asset managers registered an improvement in black ownership in 2020, with both exceeding the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) targets set in terms of the Amended Financial Sector Code.
This is according to the first ever transformation report published by the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (Asisa), titled ‘The Journey Towards Transformation of South Africa’s Savings and Investment Industry as represented by Asisa (2018-2020).
“There has been a steady increase in back ownership of both life offices and asset managers since 2018, with life offices collectively having exceeded their 23-point target by 2.37 points in 2020 and asset managers their 25-point target by one point,” Asisa outgoing CEO Leon Campher says in a statement.
Asisa has assets under management of around R8 trillion through its members, some of whom are Discovery, Allan Gray, Ninety One SA, Momentum Metropolitan, Sanlam and Absa Financial Services.
Member life offices and asset managers also met set transformation targets in the procurement, enterprise and supplier development (ESD) and socio-economic development and consumer education categories.
“Both life offices and asset managers exceeded their procurement targets in 2020. The combined procurement spend with suppliers with valid B-BBEE certificates in 2020 amounted to R52 billion, which is material,” Campher says.
“It is encouraging that R22 billion of this spend went to majority black-owned businesses.”
Room for improvement
Despite registering some gains during the period, life offices and asset managers failed to meet their targets in the management control, skills development and employment equity categories.
Life offices failed to meet their target in the access to financial services category (falling 2.24 points short of the 12-point target). Asset managers have no set targets for this category or the empowerment financing category.
Life offices fell 2.78 points short of meeting the eight-point target set for management control, while asset managers fell 6.67 points short. For the skills development category, life offices fell 5.32 points short of the 20-point target and asset managers 4.16 points short.
“While it is pleasing to see that we are well on our way, we must also acknowledge that we are not quite there yet,” Campher says.
“It is therefore imperative that our industry continues to play its role in helping our country accelerate the rate of change.”
Incoming Asisa CEO Busisa Jiya says the association will continue to keep an eye on transformation in the industry, adding that it is already in the process of collecting transformation data for the 2021 period.
“As an industry we are acutely aware that we do not operate in a vacuum and that the sustainability of the savings and investment industry is impacted by the wellbeing of the country and its people,” he says.
“Asisa’s mission is therefore to promote a culture of savings and investment in South Africa by contributing to economic transformation and inclusion.”